Skyscraper Souls

Often compared to Grand Hotel, this steely melodrama takes place entirely in the Dwight Building, a fictive hundred-story Deco marvel to rival the Empire State Building (still new in 1932). Naturally, there are stories in those stories, and the movie follows several of them, concentrating on the predations of financier David Dwight (Warren William), whose towering ego is materialized in the building that bears his name. Much of the plot is devoted to Dwight's affairs with a strong-willed yet vulnerable career woman (Verree Teasdale) and her winsome secretary (Maureen O'Sullivan), but the film's most emotionally gripping scenes involve a different kind of romance: Americans' devastating relationship with the financial markets. An urgent montage vividly depicts the hysteria of people following a hot tip to buy shares on margin, then the horror that follows when, pricked by behind-the-scenes businessmen, the bubble bursts.
—Juliet Clark

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